Innovation Policy in the Systems of Innovation Approach: Some Basic Principles

  • Charles Edquist
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


This contribution aims to deal with innovation policy from the perspective of the systems of innovation approach. The intention is to address basic principles related to national, regional or local as well as sectoral systems of innovation and the policy implications emerging from these. Hence, there will be a very strong emphasis on policy in what follows. However, it is essential, of course, that any observations should be adapted to the specific conditions in particular sectors, regions or countries to be fully relevant1.


Process Innovation Product Innovation Innovation Policy Public Intervention Sectoral System 
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  1. 1.
    This chapter is largely based on two other studies: Edquist (2001) and Edquist, Hommen and McKelvey (2001). Detailed references to the work of others are given in these two publications. Some background references can also be found in Edquist (1997), Edquist and Riddell (2000) and Edquist and McKelvey (2000).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The ‘state’ may be national, regional or local.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    However, political mistakes and failures cannot be completely avoided. Public actors may fa i l, just as markets and private actors do.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    This has been shown in Edquist, Hommen and McKelvey (2001) where the relations between [different kinds of] innovations, [different kinds of] growth and [different kinds ofl employment are dealt with.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Edquist and McKelvey (2000) is a collection of 43 articles which deals with: • national, regional and sectoral systems of innovation, including case studies, • theoretical origins of the systems of innovation approach: interactive learning, evolutionary theories, institutional theories, • innovations, growth and employment, and • public policies and firm strategies.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    If incremental innovation is not a problem for most traditional sectors, then there should be no public intervention there — see Section 3.4.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Incubators, technology parks and the financing of new technology-based firms, as well as the creation of standards, are examples of policy instruments relevant for the early stages of innovation.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    This means that neutral or general policies are normally irrelevant; selectivity is necessary if specific problems are to be solved or mitigated.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Such capabilities are also needed to design policies that can mitigate the problems.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A causal analysis might also reveal that public intervention is unlikely to solve the problem identified, due to lack of ability on the part of the government.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Edquist
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Technology and Social ChangeLinköping UniversityUSA

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